Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

I can safely say I’m sick of cold, wet weather.  Sunshine has been sporadic for the past month or so.  Apparently, so far, it’s been the coldest, wettest spring in Melbourne for several years.  Great.  I shouldn’t complain – it would be the same or worse in the Manawatu.

I am still jobless, sadly.  I have applied for a few jobs but haven’t been able to get an interview as the other candidates were of a “high calibre”.  Great.  I am disappointed in the agency I’m signed up with.  I’ve had two phone calls from them in three months.  I called back immediately after missing one of the calls but by the time I managed to contact them, the position had gone.  Thanks.  Not impressed.  The woman I had before was brilliant.  This guy doesn’t sound like he gives a shit.  I saw a job advertised this morning.  It was for a one year contract at the same place I had an interview at late last year.  I figured I should apply for it, after fiddling with my CV again, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t do it.  The interview had been one of the most humiliating experiences of my life: – a panel of about five people seated around me, unsmiling and unfriendly.  I stuttered, spilt the glass of water, and seemingly didn’t answer their odd questions to their satisfaction.  Just to get to the interview was a one hour tram ride from the CBD.  I can’t go through that experience again.  I willed myself to apply, but then just cried.  I can’t do it.

Some days I’m really depressed about the situation.  Other days I try to think positively and fill the day with interests.  I’ve done a couple of (free) courses online, the latest one being a four-week photography one through RMIT, after a six-week genealogy one through the University of Tasmania.  I am doing weekly blog entries about genealogy.  I have just written another one which has taken most of the day.  When it’s fine (which it certainly isn’t today), I go for walks and take my camera with me.  In the evenings I watch one of many excellent TV series and movies on SBS On Demand.

A trip is planned with the girls in November.  C wanted to celebrate her 30th birthday overseas, so we are going to Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore.  If I applied for a job, or got given a temporary contract, I would have to say I can’t work for about three weeks in November/December.  Perhaps I’m better off being unemployed until then, although that’s a long time to be without a job.  The trip is something to look forward to in any case.  I feel in need of a holiday.  It gets very lonely being at home all day every day (even with the company of a cat).

I’m rather disappointed in the lack of communication from some friends.  Perhaps they are embarrassed for me being out of work, after my “great move to better things”.  I don’t want their pity.  Some positivity would be good, but I get nothing at all.  Disappointing.  When I don’t get responses to emails or messages, I feel there’s no point trying again.  Isn’t it rude not to respond?  I don’t get it.  I just don’t understand people.  I found an old email as I was emptying an account before closing it.  I guess I kept the email because it reminded me of the duplicity of some people who call themselves “friends”.  In the email she called me a bitch (among other things).  She said as a friend she could say such things.  Yeah right.  With friends like that, who needs enemies.  She’d said some nasty things about me to others as well, so it’s no loss.  Needless to say, she hasn’t been a friend since.  It just made me aware, after reading it again, that I just don’t understand why some people behave as they do.  What did I do?  I’m totally unaware of whatever they think I’ve done.  I grew up preferring animals to people.  Still do, for that matter.

I’ll continue walking my path alone.


Kalang park, Blackburn



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Saturday: Tackled the scrawled genealogy notes. Some information had come from familysearch.org and I felt the need to double-check a couple of points. While there I tried doing other searches, to no avail. I don’t like their search engine. When I try to search for the possible birth date of an ancestor, I enter the name and date range and then the results come up with that name as the father of a child – not what I want at all. Very frustrating. Anyway, managed to get through most of the pile. There is still some left, including a photocopy of a letter about the family, which I need to go through again and see if I still need it. Last week I ordered the birth certificate of my maternal grandmother (which I could’ve sworn I had, but didn’t) and the marriage certificate of my great-grandparents on my maternal grandmother’s husband’s side. They arrived. I could tick them off on my spreadsheet of resources I needed. I double-checked the information I had and filed them away. This week I ordered a certificate from the Australian BDM office.

Sunday: I tidied up and did odd jobs that didn’t get done through the week. I had a lunch to go to (used to be an annual event but is now twice a year, sadly). Before going there, I got the video recorder out of the garage to deliver to a friend who wanted one. They had some kids’ videos they wanted to show their one-year-old but their machine had died. Did a bit of grocery shopping, including a quiche for the lunch, delivered the video recorder (and stopped for a cuppa), then headed over to the ladies lunch. The others had brought savouries. The host had baked Black Forest cake. I listened to the usual gossip about people I don’t know, the latest escapades of their (now grown-up) children, and gazed out at the blue sky I was missing. I made an excuse to leave about 3.30 (they can go on to 5pm). The others used the opportunity to leave also (the host can talk a lot).

Not sure what to do with the rest of the short day, I played a Sims 2 family (a couple with 2 sets of twins and another on the way).

H returned with printed out photos. My pile was $60 worth but she only paid $30 (which I owe her). I was disappointed with some – they came out darker than the original, but she didn’t have time to devote to each individual photo (she had hundreds to print). Put them in the album and realise I have no photos for 2012, or any of the many birds, trees and flowers I’ve taken. They’ll have to come later and be put at the end of the album.

We got pizza from the local takeaway and I watched a movie while H went online.

Weekend gone.

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Knowing how quickly the weekend zooms by and how I often achieve nothing, I had made a brief list of things I wanted to get done, and was able to cross some of them off at least. They don’t sound much, but anything, however small, is better than wondering at the end of the weekend what I’d achieved.

So, on Saturday I went through all my music CDs and chose a few that I never really listen to anymore or haven’t done for years. I copied some tracks onto the computer then put the CD in a giveaway pile. This took quite a while, as you can imagine. I managed to reduce a full shelf to half a shelf before remembering the CDs in the CD rack in the lounge. I wanted to keep nearly all of those, so put them on the shelf, which is now ¾ full. I suppose that’s better than an overflowing shelf.

The rest of Saturday was taken up with washing and vacuuming. I got a telemarketer phone call (as far as I can tell). Unfortunately, she was Asian with such a thick accent I couldn’t understand a word she said. I guessed at “how are you” and hesitated before replying. She then went on but I still couldn’t understand a word she said, said so and hung up. My precious time isn’t worth wasting on telemarketers.

On Sunday, I went through my ISP webmail, deleting several, and favourited genealogy-related links I’d sent to myself. This too took a while, but I went from 6 pages of email to 3. While going through them I found the contact for builders I had used and emailed them about a water-damaged ceiling (thanks to an old leak). I feel embarrassed every time someone visits and sees the unsightly ceiling in the lounge.

I then made the mistake of browsing the downloads of a Sims 2 website. I liked the design of an apartment block so much that I was determined to reproduce it. (I couldn’t download it as I didn’t have all the expansion packs necessary for it to work properly.) So I headed into the Sim downtown neighbourhood and proceeded to build the 4-storey apartment. It took hours, but I was very pleased with the result. It was a clever design of split levels, with one and a half floors per apartment. I later told C about it (and showed her) and she said she now wanted to build houses on her Sims game (she plays Sims 3). Photo later if anyone’s interested, haha.

Before I got too carried away, I also hemmed some black pants that were too long (pants are always too long).

I started copying some digital photos into a folder for H to print out but only got a short way before giving up. It all seemed too much.

I did not achieve the sorting of scrawled genealogy notes, which I made a start on last week. I need a full, uninterrupted day (at least) to sort them out. It also seemed too much to tackle in the short time left in the weekend.

In the evening I withdrew my membership from a NZ genealogy facebook page after some detrimental comments were made about UK immigrants. Others felt the same way and one of them created another page for us. I don’t really belong on an NZ page anyway. All my ancestry is Australian and British.

The brief list worked so must do it again. I think I’ll have to take time off work to do the genealogy.

Postscript: Thursday.  I completed transferring digital photos to a USB for printing.  It took an extra 3 hours last night.  Just going through the South Island photos took a while – I chose 135 out of about 600.

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My back’s killing me after hours of trying to search for elusive family members on my family tree. That’s pretty much all I did today, as well as unsuccessfully search for negatives from 1982 to 1995. Where the hell are they? Oh, before that, I tried to sort out a possible itinerary for a road trip to the South Island in February or March. So much for continuing stripping of wallpaper! Whenever I attempt any genealogy, the hours flit by and I barely get up even to eat.

Yesterday I had to return to Wellington. H’s great uncle died last week. I hadn’t intended on going but H wanted to and she didn’t want to drive to Wellington after just having done so two weeks in a row to drop off and pick up her boyfriend from the airport (the things we do).

The great uncle in question was the older brother of H’s paternal grandmother. I didn’t particularly like him and certainly never liked his wife. However, I did the dutiful thing. One of H’s aunts also doesn’t particularly like the wife or the kids of that family. Anyway, H and I arrived in Wellington a bit early, we thought, so we headed over to Miramar and ate a spinach and feta parcel and a thyme, olive and tomato pizza at a Lebanese bakery. When we got to the chapel “early” it was already full. Apparently, they’d had prayers beforehand, something that was evidently only known to some, as others kept arriving half an hour after we did. We had to stand at the back. After the service (eulogies only, no singing), people lined up to put flowers in the coffin and pass on their condolences to the family. The coffin was then taken over to the crematorium next door and everyone just left. Quite bizarre. Apparently, the widow and family were accepting visitors at 7 pm that night.

H and I drove over to her cousin’s place for a much needed cup of tea. They hadn’t yet arrived, so H and I decided to have a look at the Weta Workshop shop just down the road. We would’ve liked a tour of the workshop but didn’t have time. Instead we wandered around the shop admiring various figurines and pictures and wishing we had the money. I took photos of the trolls outside and some of the goodies inside. It was a welcome relief from the emotions of the funeral.




After the cuppa and a chat with various members of the family, H’s grandmother decided to go early to her sister-in-law’s place (where her younger brother was visiting). It was on the way out of Wellington, and H wanted to meet her grandmother’s surviving brother who had come over from the States, so we followed. On arrival, no-one greeted us. The widow was sitting on the couch next to her daughter and they just stared at us. We introduced ourselves to the other brother and chatted to him, helping ourselves to a seat. He was very nice, and interesting, a refreshing change. He, H and I shared an interest in photography. He let me use his rather nice Nikon for taking photos of people in the room. I did like the feel of it and it took really good photos. So we sat amongst ourselves and were eventually offered a cup of tea in a polystyrene cup. Some time later we were offered a sweet. That was it. It was now after 7.30 pm so H and I left (before her father arrived) and ate guiltily at Burger King on the way home. We had a detox tea before heading to bed, exhausted.  Such a strange day.

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Because I’m into genealogy, a friend, E, who’d been watching ‘Who do you think you are?’ was inspired to track down the family of her birth parents and asked for my help.  All she had was a death date and the name of the spouse.  At first I found nothing.  Then E added the maiden name of the spouse.  I couldn’t find anything on ancestry.com.  But by doing a google search on the two names I found a forum discussing this family.  I was able to tell E the year of marriage, the death date of the wife, the sister’s name and death date and the names of the parents.  There was also a contact email address for further information on the wife’s family.  I forwarded all this to E.  She was elated.  She even posted on facebook about it, so happy was she.  I was pleased for her, but the simple fact was that if she’d done a google search she could’ve found the same information.  Never mind – I was happy to help.

After H left to go to a wedding in Wellington, I headed into town to buy yet more paint for the laundry, as well as some more sugar soap and hand moisturiser!  I tried two hardware stores but found the first one was the cheapest.  I also delivered some old games we’d found when tidying up the spare room.  Of six games we were able to find homes for, three were got rid of today.

Once home I had lunch and wondered what to start on first – touching up some skirting or starting on the laundry walls.  Then friend HP sent a message to say she was on the deck relaxing and did I want to join her.  I thought “bugger it, I will” and did so.  We sat in the very hot sun under a cloudless blue sky and had non-alchoholic cold drinks.  Although I wasn’t wasting the sunny day being inside, I still felt the need to do something and suggested to HP that we check out a cafe on the other side of the gorge.  She was happy to.  I should have done yesterday’s trip today as the weather was magnificent.

The cafe was lovely and we sat outside in very pleasant surroundings having cold drinks.  We nosied around the place for a bit then took the walking track, which ended up at a play area by the bridge.  As we headed back,  HP, who has a good eye for photographs, mentioned that she’d like to stop smoking and save the money to buy a camera.  She’d been inspired by looking at some scenes and wanting to photograph it.  All she had was her mobile camera.

We headed back to the car, returned to my place and had some more cold drinks – lemon, lime and bitters cordial with soda water, which she really enjoyed.  She thanked me for the outing today and repeated that she was inspired.  She even said she’d like to go on photography trips.  I was pleased.

I’d mentioned that the vineyard up the road was open tomorrow and she was keen to visit, so we’ll head up there tomorrow afternoon.

So far, my ‘resolution’ to get out more is going ok.  We’ll see how long it lasts, particularly when winter sets in.

I wonder what H will say when she returns to find I’ve done absolutely nothing around the house 🙂  I did do one noticeable thing though – I took down the Christmas tree and decorations.

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I don’t understand blog spam.  What is the point of it?  Much of it is gibberish.  One that wasn’t, claimed that my blog post contained spelling errors.  Ha!  Utter bullshit.  I’m finickity about grammar and spelling.  I never rely on spell-checkers but check everything myself, reading it over and over until I’m satisfied I’ve spotted all errors.  Nothing pisses me off more than finding errors in my own writing.  Unfortunately I tend to spot them from a mile off in other people’s writing and do try to restrain myself from pointing them out.  I just can’t help myself.

Anyway, I had not come here to talk about grammar – the spam diverted me.

Spring is definitely in the air with masses of blossoms out attracting birds, rhododendrons and magnolias flowering in their magnificence, and birds singing everywhere.  I share their joy.  There have been heaps of tuis around and I’ve tried, without much success, to take photos of them.  Here’s one of the better ones.

I went for a walk with my new camera but was disappointed with the results.  I’m using full auto until I’m completely familiar with the settings, and the results looked a bit washed out.   I tried taking a photo of a cheeky fantail following me a short way on my walk.  The result was blurred but I like it.

I need to figure out how to choose the aperture or shutter speed myself.  H showed me but she did it so quickly I’ve forgotten how.  I need to sit down again and make notes.  I read manuals and think, ‘oh yeah, I’ve got that’, then when it comes to wanting it, I’ve forgotten.

I checked out an email account I haven’t checked for a long time this morning and found over a 1000 emails of WordPress updates.  After spending ages deleting them all, I quickly altered my settings to stop receiving emails for every like, comment, update, etc.  I wish these things weren’t ticked by default – it’s the same with Facebook.  I’m sick of getting junkmail (basically) clogging my inbox.  It puts me off reading anything at all that might not be (it often gets missed).

Last night I signed into ancestry.com for the first time in months.  It’s a wasted subscription really but the minute I cancel it I’ll probably want to do a lot on there.  I was enthused, as always, by the “Who do you think you are?” series.  It’s the American one showing at the moment but is still interesting.  Some of these celebrities take rather a detour looking back, following the ancestors on a maternal line.  I guess it all depends on which branch is the more interesting.  I’ve tried to follow all branches on mine but can’t get much beyond the 19th century (if at all), and I hate that scotlandspeople.com has the monopoly on Scottish records.  Anyway, I discovered that my great-grandfather on my mother’s side had two other siblings.  I thought it was just him and his twin brother but the 1911 census says that there were two children no longer living as well as the brothers.  Interesting.  Might have to look into that.  As always, when I re-start the genealogy, I can’t find previous notes or the notebook I was using to write down my searches.  When I’m not doing family research I find these notes which all look very confusing.  Oh dear.  I will have to be more organised (ha – always telling myself that).

I got in touch with the ultrasound people to find out when my appointment might be.  They cancelled last week because the ‘doctor’s still in Christchurch’.  The woman waited until we’d waited 20 minutes before telling us this but anyway.  A woman rang me to tell me that the ‘doctor’ was now away and I couldn’t get the ultrasound until end of September/early October.  I was fuming, but as I was at work, I couldn’t say what I was really thinking.  So this bastard just fucks off for a month inconveniencing everyone including surgeons who had me down for an op within the month.  More delays.  I can’t make any plans to go on an Aus holiday with all this uncertainty hanging over me.  I can’t believe they don’t have someone who can take over when this bastard is away!  It’s not good enough!  I suppose the only good thing is that I won’t be having the op within the next month when I’m busy with things like attending a conference and going to see Bill Bailey in Wellington.

I think that’s the end of my rambling.  It’s sunny today but with black clouds threatening to let loose at any moment.

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Well the long weekend went by far too quickly, as I knew it would. I didn’t achieve much but then I did do some stuff which I needed to do.

Firstly, I booked the bus to KL, as mentioned in the previous post. I also drafted a couple of blog posts for the blog I may have mentioned. That done, I went along to the dance practice in Feilding. Why are all scout halls so dingy and freezing? Miserable places they are. It was far colder inside than it was outside. Anyway, it was the first time I had an audience (the other dance groups) and I mucked up completely because I was nervous. It’s obvious I have some work to do on the dance before I can remember it all perfectly. After the practice I headed into town to buy free-range eggs, organic chicken, yummy cheeses and soap at the bulk barn (and a little visit next door to Liquorland).

So, once back home I dug around for the audio (and not video) of the choreography which I can put on my mp3 player to play while overseas. Otherwise I only have 3 practice sessions before the hafla. I searched through all my belly dancing CDs, knowing that on one of them was the music for the choreography. I couldn’t find it, so googled how I could extract an audio file from a video file. It involved downloading a program which I didn’t want to do. I knew the music was somewhere and had another good search and this time found it in a pile of medieval music. I must have had the CD in amongst them for my medieval feast last year. Goodo! Then I had to convert the wav file to mp3 for the player. This did involve downloading a program as the program already on the computer converted only from mp3 to wav (for making CDs)! I tried dancing to the audio track and found I couldn’t remember a couple of bits. Watched the video and practiced and hope I’ve got them right now. For some light relief I watched my favourite belly dancer, Serena Ramzy, do three dances on her Visual Melodies DVD. I always, always find myself smiling when watching her.

That done, I decided I may as well alter the costume (I’d been putting it off for ages). However, I couldn’t find the unpicker or some glue (to make it stick). Daughter came home later in the afternoon and said she had the unpicker which she gave me. By now the light wasn’t great but I went ahead (after first unpicking the wrong bit and having to re-sew!). Couldn’t find the glue but did a few stitches to make it stay there. Job done.

Did some washing and housework on the following day but felt at a loss in the evening when daughter went on the computer and there was nothing on TV. How sad is that? I looked at the laptop and the pile of genealogical stuff I had beside it in my ongoing conversion of paper biographies to computer. I got down to it and transferred all the info into a word document. That’s only the beginning though. I intend going through all my (paper) files to compile mini biographies of the ancestors and at least dates for their siblings. These will include occupations, addresses and notes about any ephemera I’ve inherited. Doing that should get things organised in my head and reveal what’s missing.

I can’t even remember Monday. Boredom was setting in and I couldn’t remember where the list of things to do was. Typical. The day before when I’d looked at the laptop and was about to procrastinate I thought ‘it’s all very well having a list of stuff to do but you’ve got to be in the mood to do it’. There’s no hope for me, I tell you. I spent much of yesterday, therefore, playing computer games (Settlers of Catan, Freecell, Mahjong and Sims 2). They are extremely good procrastination tools. The trouble was I didn’t know what I was procrastinating about – thinking?

And so ended another three-day weekend with something achieved, but not a great deal. Didn’t get outside. I didn’t even bother trying to start the lawnmower again. I have to remember to take the bloody thing in to be fixed (Thursday, I think). Oh, I also got my hair cut – just a few inches chopped off to make it more manageable.

Next weekend will be the last one at home and then the following it’s off to Tauranga, and the Saturday after that flying to Brisbane. It’s all go!

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